The Hidden Feminism of Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum Feminist

Channing Tatum Feminist

I don’t know that much about Channing Tatum. I know he used to be a male stripper and that he’s pretty funny. The only movies I’ve ever seen him were the wrestling one with Steve Carell and one I had to Google search just now. “end of the world movie james franco.” It was This Is The End.

I specifically remember thinking he was cool in This Is The End because of one particular scene. He was in a gimp suit and got down submissively on all fours at one point. I’m pretty sure he acted like a dog and was wearing a leash. It was funny, and something I’m not sure a lot of male actors are secure enough to do on screen for a few laughs, or accustomed to doing thanks to the lopsided “artistic” sexual portrayals/exploitations of male vs. female actors in Hollywood.

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It reminded me of when I lived in Chile post-undergrad and my boyfriend at the time was trying yoga with me for the first time ever. We were watching a Yogamazing video podcast and, like at the beginning of many yoga sessions, we started by doing cat cow pose. That’s the one where you’re on all fours and arch your back to stretch your core muscles like a cow, then make a cat back to stretch out your back. Then you repeat for a couple of breaths and move on with your life.

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For some reason, after one try of these cat cow stretches, my ex became really angry. “I’m not doing this anymore! I HATE IT!!” When I asked him why, if something hurt, etc., he wouldn’t give me a clear answer, which angered me even more because whatever I’m thinking is wrong always leads to a 100% worse scenario. Is it because he has some cartilage stretching deep inside his body that doesn’t allow him to move well, and if he snaps it he’ll die? Is he jonesin’ to do a #2? Is he about to lay down a huge cheesy blaster? Is it because that’s what I look like when we do doggy style?

And that was it. I couldn’t stop thinking about that last one. I became convinced–and still am to this day–that that’s the reason he threw a literal fit about doing those yoga stretches. I’ll never know for sure if that was actually the reason because he strangely wouldn’t tell me–but I can’t let go that it isn’t.

I’m not really the type to start blaming myself for other people’s problems with sexism and the patriarchy. It’s honestly really sad to think about some man hypothetically believing a stretch is too feminine for him. But it does make me livid that he might have felt ashamed or less than doing a pose I do for exercise AND sometimes when we’re doin’ it. Well then, why the fuck are you asking me to bend over in the bedroom if you can’t even do it during yoga? If it’s that embarrassing for you, maybe it should be that embarrassing for me. *And so on until we all die from starvation and being lame af.*

That’s why I’m amazed every time I see Channing Tatum move his body. He is an incredible dancer who doesn’t, according to Sexist Stereotypes for Men, look like he would be. I haven’t seen any of the Magic Mike movies, but I have seen clips and am shocked at how confident and free he looks doing dance moves that most men would probably not attempt. Even more recently his incredible Lip Sync Battle where he dressed in drag as Beyoncé and fucking killed it dancing–and dressing–like her.

 

It’s honestly a breath of fresh air to see him not only pull off her moves, but look truly free and happy doing it–without the burden of cultural patterns of oppression weighing down upon his incredibly sculpted male physique.

Not that white straight dudes need a ton of attention right now in this country, but I could have used this Channing Tatum dance moment to show my ex that men can move their bodies in lots of different ways–and that doesn’t make them less of a person, a man, or whatever you want to call yourself. It’s also pretty insulting to be ashamed of being feminine.

The cultural importance of a straight cisgender dude dancing in drag, lip syncing with Beyoncé, on cable television, to a song called “Run the World (Girls)” is one huge point for feminism in 2016. Let us celebrate Channing Tatum for helping tear down the sexist patriarchy one hair flip, hip shake and back bend at a time. Just remember, boys: love like you’ve never been hurt, sing like nobody’s listening, and dance like Channing Tatum is watching. Feminism 2016™.

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